April 27, 2016
Volume 18, Issue 9
Midwifery Today E-News
“First Hour after Birth”
Print Page

In This Week’s Issue

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Embraced by the moon

MT storeDone in hauntingly beautiful shades of blue and white, this original fine art by Amy Swagman will make a magnificent addition to anyone’s collection of birth art. Lunar Embrace is available as a 6 x 6 or 8 x 8 inch digital print on 9.5 x 12.5 inch archival, acid-free artist paper. See a larger picture on our website. To order

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Quote of the Week

I think my life began with waking up and loving my mother’s face.

George Eliot

The Art of Midwifery

I’ve heard it said about different momma animals that if you take their baby away immediately after birth and then try to reintroduce the newborn later, the momma animal will reject her newborn and refuse to care for it. The disruption in the bonding time results in disastrous outcomes.

Nancy Halseide
Excerpted from “Let Time Stand Still: Bonding with Your Baby,” Midwifery Today, Issue 102
View table of contents / Order the back issue

Midwifery Today Conferences

Learn about midwifery in the South Pacific

Fiji conferenceWhen you attend this full-day class you will be involved in a discussion of the best practices and organizational methods of midwifery and birth for the South Seas. What is the way to bring the best evidence-based practices to the islands?

Learn more about the Suva, Fiji, conference.

Strasbourg conferenceJoin us in Strasbourg, France, this October!

Learn from teachers such as Michel Odent (pictured), Cornelia Enning, Carol Gautschi, Fernando Molina and Gail Tully. Choose from a wide variety of classes, including Midwifery Skills, Breech Skills, Rebozo Techniques and Practice and Managing Twin Births. Plan now to attend.

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Editor’s Corner

Calendars and Care

I am glad research on due dates has finally proven what midwives have known all along: Babies come out when they are ready. So many complications are iatrogenically made by false information on due dates. Protocols that midwives have to follow for their doctor back-up are wrong and railroad many unsuspecting moms into the hospital from a planned homebirth because the midwife must bow to her doctor back-up’s protocols, which are based on false information, such as transfer of care at 41 or 42 weeks.

Women doing a hospital birth are at even more risk in this due date excuse to induce or to do a cesarean because of the incorrect thinking that a baby must come on or before the due date. Some women are induced at 39 weeks. In most cases, this is not good for mothers or babies.

Midwives must always be vigilant and give good prenatal care for mothers. Problems can arise, but they are not usually due-date dependent. Babies can get into difficulty at any time, so always stay alert to possibilities while promoting healthy living and helping mom do all the best for her baby. Having a happy mind, eating well and exercise are always in fashion!

— Jan Tritten, mother of Midwifery Today

Jan Tritten is the founder, editor-in-chief and mother of Midwifery Today magazine. She became a midwife in 1977 after the amazing homebirth of her second daughter. Her mission is to make loving midwifery care the norm for birthing women and their babies throughout the world. Meet Jan at our conferences around the world, or join her online, as she works to transform birth practices around the world.

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Featured Article

First Hours after Birth: Family Integration and Mutual Regulation

The drama after birth sometimes unfolds with comments like these from the mother: “I did it! I did it! I can’t believe I did it!” “Oh my, is that our baby?” “What is it—a boy or girl?” “Is she all right?” “She doesn’t look like a baby!” “Look at her little hands, and her feet!” “We made her!” “She’s so big!” “Look, she has your dimple!” We’ve all heard these outbursts of joy and relief right after the baby comes out, sometimes among kisses, tears of joy and exhaustion or happy laughter.

We’ve also all heard expressions of exhaustion and relief from the mother and seen a temporary lack of interest in her baby. The exclamations might sound more like these: “It’s over! I can’t believe it’s over!” “Can I just lie here for a minute?” “I can’t hold the baby right now. You take it.” “Please just leave me alone right now.” “I’m so glad it’s over.” “We’re never doing this again!” Sometimes it takes a while before the mother can turn her attention from the intensity of the birth to her baby.

The mother may respond in silence and stillness, moaning a bit as tears flow or crying from relief, joy, exhaustion or simply waiting for the next feelings to come as she holds her baby on her chest; feeling him, but not yet really looking at him.

Regardless of how the drama unfolds, the mother’s reaction is correct. Once the intense experience of labor and birth is over, whether orgasmic, ecstatic, triumphant, tedious, disappointing, exhausting or traumatic, she may need time to internalize the reality that she is no longer in labor—it is over and she has her baby. We should trust that her reactions after the birth are correct for her and are the result of a lifetime of experiences, her current circumstances and the nature of this birth experience. No woman should be rushed to hold and suckle her baby any more than she should be rushed to get into labor, dilate her cervix, push her baby and placenta out or latch the baby onto her breast. Nor should her ability to mother her baby be judged by how she responds in these moments.

Penny Simkin
Excerpted from “First Hours after Birth: Family Integration and Mutual Regulation,” Midwifery Today, Issue 102
View table of contents / Order the back issue

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Do you work with laboring women?

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4-Day Intermediate/Advanced Midwifery Skills Workshop in Sedona AZ!
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Website Update

Read this editorial by Jan Tritten from the Spring 2016 issue of Midwifery Today:

Midwifery Today Magazine30 Years and Still Going Strong!

Excerpt: My desire with Midwifery Today was to fill the void of timely information but I wanted to do it in an artistic way, with photos, art, poetry and columns of information germane to our practices. The original goal was to midwife midwives and now it also includes encouraging and informing doulas, childbirth educators, moms and anyone else who is in involved with birth.

Spring 2016 Magazine TOC Now Online:

The table of contents for the Spring issue of Midwifery Today is now online. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of Midwifery Today, the issue features the articles from thirteen of our most loyal and devoted writers, along with several new articles, and sports a gorgeous and first-ever color cover. Read more here.

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Birth Q&A

Q: What was your “first hour after birth” like? How would you describe it?

— Midwifery Today

A: It was the most magical hour of my life! I wish I could relive it every day! I gave birth in a local birthing center with my amazing midwife. I had waited my entire life for that moment, and I couldn’t have had a better experience. I love my baby boy.

— Jenna Sullada Catanese

A: Bliss. My first was born in a birthing center. I caught him and brought him to my chest in the birthing pool, and he didn’t leave my chest for the next two hours. We snuggled in bed with my husband beside me, and he nursed as I ate. We all just marveled at each other. Everything was slow and easy as we finally got to know each other earth-side.

— Trish Givens

A: I felt like something was wrong with me because after months of planning a joyous natural water birth, I really felt no emotion, while every other natural birth mom I knew just fell in love with their baby immediately. My body was short of oxytocin or my brain short-circuited or something. It was comparable to waking up from surgery—absent-minded, groggy and very slow, like the walking dead. I could hardly hold my newborn above the water because I was so weak. I needed guidance—do I get out of the cold bathwater? Do I shower? Should I put a robe on and get warm? I was freezing the entire time and I could hardly move because of the full body shakes. I couldn’t form words or sentences when my midwife asked what I wanted to do next. Once I was warm in bed, I could focus a little more. The guilt of not feeling happy or joyful was the beginning of postpartum depression, which I didn’t realize was there until a month later when my head was finally screwed back on. My motherly instincts just took a bit longer to kick in. My daughter is now three years old and I love her more than anything.

— Allison Edwards

A: My first birth was an unmedicated hospital birth. It was great but busy. My second birth was a homebirth. It was relaxing, amazing and surreal. I was able to spend the first hour alone with my baby, my husband and our first child. I was delivered food in bed and was able to soak in the snuggles and breastfeed.

— Keisha Stogner Jarrell

A: I was so exhausted; it was like I was in a bubble and everything around me sounded far away.

— Kara-Leigh Chassie

A: It was a little like those drama reels in hospital TV shows: everything faded, the people moved in hyper motion and I was just stuck, frozen in the middle. I had a naturally delivered micro preemie, so she was born after five minutes of pushing, then they tugged the placenta and it ripped, so they had to go in after it—worst moment of my life right there. I hadn’t worn my contacts and my glasses had fallen off so everyone was blurry. They whisked my daughter off to an isolette, and I just turned my head to that side and watched her until they put her on a jet with my husband [to go to a different hospital]. That took maybe 25 minutes. Then after that, because I had been so healthy, they just left me alone in my room, dimmed the lights and told me to try and sleep while my family made arrangements for me to drive to the new hospital the next day. I remember very vividly that my daughter let out one gusty tiny cry when she was born, as if to say, “I’m alive, Mama!” All in all that first hour was magnificent, tragic and calm, all in that order.

— Alaina Mousseau-Herrera

A: After the birth of my son at a local birth center, I felt so amazing that I got up and we danced. We had an hour or so of family snuggles in the large queen-sized bed. We did lots of skin-to-skin contact, and he was able to latch almost immediately with the help of our midwife. Our first hour after birth was full of love, peace and smiles!

— Meghan Goodwin

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